Open access textbooks are openly-licensed digital textbooks that are offered for free online. Traditional textbooks use cumbersome copyright license restrictions, while open access textbooks allow anyone to read, copy, distribute, or modify the content at no cost. Even students who have not been assigned an open access textbook can benefit from using them alongside traditional textbooks as supplemental study material.
Many universities around the United States have already developed initiatives to produce high-quality, peer-reviewed open access textbooks for their students and response has been positive: open access textbooks are now seen as affordable alternatives to traditional learning materials.
Open Access Textbooks at the University of South Florida
USF Scholar Commons houses its own open access textbook collection. While these texts are best suited for use in higher education, every item in the collection is available to all users at no cost. Subjects covered are mathematics, journalism, academic writing, and behavioral research. USF Scholar Commons is actively seeking to grow its collection of higher education open access textbooks and accepts submissions from all authors regardless of affiliation. If you would like to add to the collection, please contribute your open access textbook. For any additional questions, please feel free to contact USF Scholar Commons.
USF is also a member of the Open Textbook Network (OTN), an alliance of higher education institutions committed to improving access, affordability, and academic success through the use of open textbooks. Visit the OTN Library for access to free and open textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.
Open Access Textbook Repositories
ALT Open Access Repository A project which aims to provide a resource base and supporting technologies to ensure effective support for e-learning professionals. It is a collaboration between Cranfield University and the Association for Learning and Technology (ALT).
American Institute of Mathematics Open Textbook Initiative A list of open access mathematics textbooks that have been evaluated and approved for use in a traditional university course. The American Institute of Mathematics Editorial Board has developed evaluation criteria to identify the books that are suitable for use in traditional university courses. The Editorial Board maintains a list of Approved Textbooks which have been judged to meet these criteria.
BookBoon A collection of free eBooks for students and business professionals. The books can be downloaded in PDF without registration.
iBerry A collection of open access materials and resources for learners, educators, researchers.
Gutenburg Project Free downloads of books in the public domain (published before 1923)..
iLumina A digital library of sharable undergraduate teaching materials. It is designed to quickly and accurately connect users with the educational resources they need. These resources range in type from highly granular objects such as individual images and video clips to entire courses.
Internet Archive A non-profit with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. Over 6,000,000 fully accessible public domain eBooks are available.
Learning Exchange A collection of thousands of learning resources specifically for social services education and training. These include information sheets, official publications, interactive learning resources, video clips, case studies, podcasts and radio broadcasts.It is maintained by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services.
MERLOT II A free, peer reviewed collection of online teaching and learning materials and faculty-developed services.It is maintained by the California State University System.
National Science Digital Library A digital library which provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines—both formal and informal, institutional and individual, in local, state, national, and international educational settings.
North Carolina Learning Object Repository A collection of documents, audio/video clips, simulations, learning modules, assessments, and more – virtually any type of learning resource that can be digitized and processed.
OER Commons A digital content hub of teaching and learning materials freely available for everyone to use, whether you are a teacher or a learner. This includes full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.
Open CourseWare Initiative A web-based publication of virtually all Massachusetts Institute of Technology course content. It is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.
Open Doar - Open Access A directory of academic open access repositories. Each repository has been visited by project staff to check the information that is recorded there. This in-depth approach does not rely on automated analysis and gives a quality-controlled list of repositories. It is maintained by SHERPA Services at the University of Nottingham.
Open Textbook Library An online library to help instructors find affordable, quality open access textbook solutions. All textbooks in this library are complete and openly licensed.It is partnered with the University of Minnesota, BC Campus, and Perdue University.
OpenStax CNX A website to view and share free educational material in small modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports or other academic assignments.It is supported by William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 20 Million Minds Foundation, Maxfield Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and Rice University.
Orange Grove Florida's digital repository for instructional resources. The repository provides an environment for educators to search for, use, remix, share, and contribute educational resources.
Resource Repository A digital commons for the global health community. This electronic collection of documents, links, audio, and video files, relies on contributions from the community. It is maintained by the non-profit organization Genetic Alliance.
USF Scholar Commons Open Access Textbooks Textbooks submitted to this collection are free and available to anyone, but are best suited for higher education.